UPDATE 1-BAE places bid for TRW defence assets-source

(adds BAE has no comment, background)

LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Britain's BAE Systems Plc has submitted an offer for the defence assets of TRW Inc, the U.S. group being pursued by at least one other bidder in a $6 billion race, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Defence contractor BAE said two weeks ago it may join the field chasing TRW as it seeks to profit from rising U.S. defence spending that has gained urgency since September 11.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that defence giants General Dynamics Corp and Raytheon Co had also entered the auction for TRW.

The business, spanning satellites and missile defence systems and computerised systems for military and civilian customers, has been valued at more than $6 billion.

The source did not say how much BAE would be willing to pay for TRW's defence unit. BAE declined to comment on whether it had submitted a bid. "We will make a further announcement if and when it is appropriate," a spokesman said.

Under a deadline set by TRW, all bids had to be in by noon on Monday for the defence assets.

TRW's U.S. rival Northrop Grumman Corp put in a $6.7 billion hostile offer for the whole company earlier this year, but that was before other potential buyers emerged and TRW sold its aeronautical business.

Northrop has extended its offer to June 28 and people familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal that Northrop had amended its bid, without giving details.

Last week TRW agreed to sell its aeronautical unit to Goodrich Corp. for $1.5 billion. Half of the unit's operations are in Britain.

BAE shares were 0.44 percent higher at 342-1/2 pence.